Let's talk tools. Despite your best efforts to prepare your skin for a close, razor burn-free shave, your razor choice can make or break it. First, you need to decide which you like better: electric (dry shaving) or disposable/cartridge razors (wet shaving). Basically, they'll both chop off your hair fairly close to your skin, but each has its pros and cons.
The closest shaves are generally going to be the ones you get from a straight razor at your barber. If you're not practiced in the art of shaving with a straight razor, you may find you get the closest at-home shave with a multiblade, cartridge-style razor, the sharper the better.
If you're hoping to avoid skin irritation, an electric razor may help. But be careful which setting you choose -- as the razor heats up with use, it can irritate skin if it's on the setting closest to your skin. There are two types of electric razors: foil and rotary. Foil shavers cut hair with blades that move from side to side. Rotary shavers cut hair with circular blades that spin and bend. Rotary shavers are generally considered to be easier to use than foil shavers because they can reach all the angles of your face, but foil shavers generally give the closer shave of the two [source: Consumer Search].
Additionally, some electric shavers are cordless and rechargeable, and some you have to plug in. Some are for dry shaving only, while others are shower-friendly. What works best for your skin and stubble will be individual to your skin's needs, so don't be afraid of a little trial and error to find the right tool.